Some people have asked me over the last year, “Joanne, why don’t I see your byline as much?” Others have said, “Joanne, why are you always at the beach or eating a hot dog or doing the George Michael in public restrooms?” Still others don’t know my name and only ask if I would like the small or medium curly fry. These are all valid questions and I have one very good answer for the first two.
I am writing my first novel.
For me, the ongoing process of creating an entire new world filled with engaging characters is a lot like having imaginary friends. You walk down the bread aisle and think, “Would my heroine eat garlic toast as a snack instead of a before dinner carb item?” or “The hero wouldn’t wear those chinos because he would say his ass looks too big in them.” Before I know it, I’m so lost in thought that my Harris Teeter grocery store cashier is asking me for the third time whether I want paper or plastic. They just want to throw my bunch spinach at me, and really at that point I would have it coming.
These are the conversations I’m having with myself these days, which my good writer friend Keia thinks is hilarious, thank goodness. I have allowed myself to scribble notes and stuff them in my purse. I will start to drift off to sleep and realize, “Dang, she should hobble into the room, not crawl.” Then I write it down on the notepad by my bed in the dark, so when I wake up in the morning I am sure not to understand what I wrote at all. It looks like a gremlin has written an illegible note to get more cream of shoe.
Writing a novel gives you permission to be weird. Well in my case, maybe just a shade or fifteen weirder than usual. It has always been my dream to be an author, the kind that pitches her publisher, gets the green light and then goes off to her beach house for three months to write the book. I am working on this dream every day while in my Andy Warhol t-shirt, typing out words through moments when I’d rather be napping to “Sex and the City” season three.
This would be the part where I’d ask you fine readers what your dream is, but I don’t have time for that. I’m still trying to figure out what I meant by saying my main character should foot the chair muffin.
Oh, and to answer that third question: Medium curly fry.